|Foot massage has been used for thousands of years by, among others, the Chinese, Egyptians and American Indians, to maintain physical, mental and spiritual balance. The ancient theory of acupressure uses thumb pressure on acupoints – a series of points along lines of energy throughout the body – to help unblock energy and enable the body to heal itself.
In the early twentieth century, Dr William Fitzgerald, an American physician noticed that by pressing on one part of the body another part would be anaesthetized. Over time, using the knowledge he gained, he divided the body into ten, longitudinal zones. He called this Zone Therapy. He worked on the basis that each zone passed through several organs and pressure at one point in the zone would cause a reflex action in another part of the zone. The zones he devised matched the meridians of energy used in acupressure.
Later, in the early 1930s Eunice Ingham, a physiotherapist in Washington DC, developed foot reflexology from Zone Therapy. She decided to concentrate on feet after discovering that pressure on various points on the feet helped relieve pain. Since all nerves end in the feet and feet are more sensitive than hands as they are usually covered, she used Fitzgerald’s charts to chart the whole body onto the feet, forming the basis for modern reflexology.
The aim of reflexology is to stimulate the body’s own healing processes in order to keep it balanced. It helps the systems to work more efficiently thus speeding up the healing process. It is used to treat a variety of conditions including sinusitis, headaches, bowel disorders, menstrual problems and skeletal problems.
Its benefits include:
Foot reflexology is most common, but where this is impractical, the hands may be used as effectively.
- Relieving stress and tension and promoting relaxation
- Improving blood circulation, thus increasing the efficiency of all organs and cells
- Releasing trapped nervous energy and improving neural efficiency
- Improving waste removal
- Activating the body’s self-healing